This joyous couple has been married 81 years. He says the secret is to "always agree with your wife." They eloped when she was 17 and he was 21. He is now 102, and she is 98. Read more here.
Thanks to Ann Voskamp for the link to the story.
This joyous couple has been married 81 years. He says the secret is to "always agree with your wife." They eloped when she was 17 and he was 21. He is now 102, and she is 98. Read more here.
Thanks to Ann Voskamp for the link to the story.
Can a movie have great acting and still bore the snot our of you?
I just came back from taking the kids to see Catching Fire. Or, was it Tick Tock? No, it was "Ya Gotta Have Allies? Or, was it I'll Get You Some Water? Or, was it Nobody Needs Me? Or, was it I Need You? Or, was it No Problem, We'll see You at Midnight? Or, was it The Water Helped?
No, it was Remember Who The Real Enemy Is. Or, We've Lost Power! I think it was Saved by the Sleep Apnea Machine! Or, This is the Revolution, and You are the Mocking Jay! No, it was Oh Well, I Can Always Go Back To My Other Boyfriend!
I was looking forward to the movie, because several conservative websites recommended it. What, do we think Jennifer Lawrence is going to pull some arrows out of her quiver and defend us against Obama, the IRS, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Holder, and John Kerry? Dream on, comrades.
We are not going to let the president choose our leaders, are we? We'll choose our leaders from the likes of Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and Sarah Palin, not Chris Christie, John McCain, or Mitt Romney, right?
"Dad, it's just a movie."
Can I brag about my kids? I'm going to anyway. Tonight I took them Christmas shopping at the big box store. I told them I would give them each one hundred dollars, and they could buy whatever they wanted, either for themselves or for other people. We each got a cart and went our separate ways.
Greg, age twelve, bought only gifts for other people. The tab came to $135, but I didn't mind, because I was so proud that he thought only of buying gifts for other people.
Jon, age thirteen, also spent $135, but again, I didn't mind, because with the exception of the latest Wolverine movie, he spent it all on other people.
These boys get it! It is way more fun to give than to receive!
It was a great lesson for Sara, age ten, who saw the happiness expressed by her brothers' spirit of giving gifts to others. We'll see if some of their unselfishness rubs off on her next year. This year all but one of her purchases were for herself, but she is and always has been a very unselfish girl. She did a good job of adding up her purchases and keeping the total right at $100.
Kudos also go to Colleen, who, thanks to the decision of the family court judge, is their custodial parent. She is doing a great job.
This hysterical, emotionally disturbed guy is a Congressman from Colorado. Watch him become unglued in the House of Representatives because he cares so much about illegal immigrants. It's very simple.
Thanks to The Right Scoop for providing the video.
“The secret of life…is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” - Paulo Coelho, from The Alchemist
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” - Helen Keller
“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving.” - Katharine Hepburn
“I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent” – Thomas Edison
“You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes.” -John Wooden
These inspiring quotes were found here, along with fifty others.
Jonathan Fields advocates doing something because it's what you're here to do. In other words, because it is your passion, and you find meaning in doing it. He gives two scenarios:
Hey, why are you writing a book?
Because, I want to get published. Then people will take me seriously. Millions of people will know what I’ve got to say. And they’ll see I’m an author. And I’ll build a huge career writing and speaking and traveling. This book is the key that will unlock my dreams. Oh, and Mr. Waddlesmith from 10th grade who said I was a no-talent moron…who’s the dummy now?! #suckit!
And, what if you write the whole book and nobody wants it?
Well, um, uh, then it’ll have been a year out of my life that I can’t get back. A massive letdown. Think of all the other stuff I could’ve done. It’ll suck. Big time. I’d be a total failure. Son of bitch, that Mr. Waddlesmith was right! #screwed
Hey, why are you writing a book?
Because, I’m a writer. I feel like that’s what I’m here to do. When I write, I feel. I light up. It’s like I’m doing what I was put here to do. Not all the time, but often enough to make me want to keep coming back and doing more of it. I feel a sense of alignment and purpose. And, besides, I’m pretty fascinated by this topic/story line and it’d be amazing to be able to spent a year doing a really deep dive on it and learning more. Oh, and I’ll have a book at the end, which is pretty cool too. #fulfilled
And, what if you write the whole book and nobody wants it?
Well, I guess that’d be a bit of a bummer. But hell, I’ll still have spent the last year doing what I’m meant to do and learning about something very cool. Including myself. Hopefully, someday I’ll get good enough at the craft for people to want to buy what I write. But even if they don’t, it’s still something I’d do just because of what it gives me along the way. #stillfulfilled
Thanks to Susan Cain for recommending Mr. Fields
OMMAG (One More Middle Age Guy) links to an article in Business Insider. BI in turn links to Transparency International's 2013 Corruptions Perceptions Index. There are several interesting graphs. The most corrupt countries are no surprise: North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Yemen, and Haiti.
The least corrupt are New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Where does the United States stand? Number 19, below Japan, Belgium and Hong Kong, but above Uruguay, Ireland, and Bahamas.
Can you tolerate melancholy? Can you let the sadness hit you like a truck? Are we lucky to live sad moments?
Our bodies rush in the antibodies to meet the sadness.
Louis C.K., Colleen and I are the only ones who don't want to get cell phones for our kids!
Much is being written today about Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday. Here is Slavoj Zizek, writing in today's New York Times:
At this precise conjuncture, radical emancipatory politics faces its greatest challenge: how to push things further after the first enthusiastic stage is over, how to make the next step without succumbing to the catastrophe of the “totalitarian” temptation – in short, how to move further from Mandela without becoming Mugabe.
If we want to remain faithful to Mandela’s legacy, we should thus forget about celebratory crocodile tears and focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. We can safely surmise that, on account of his doubtless moral and political greatness, he was at the end of his life also a bitter, old man, well aware how his very political triumph and his elevation into a universal hero was the mask of a bitter defeat. His universal glory is also a sign that he really didn’t disturb the global order of power.
Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’ ”
Susan Cain theorizes that religious believers and atheists need each other. Atheists may point to truths uncovered by scientific inquiry, while believers may point to truth that has been discovered through faith. Either way, Susan writes, here's to
the spirit of the religious holidays/the Winter Solstice (take your pick!).
I agree with Susan. It is truth we all need and want. Let's get on with it!
Andrew McCarthy has written another brilliant analysis of the world as it is. Go here to read the whole thing, from which I excerpt tiny bits below:
For the mainstream press, it is about how cleverly Obama can rationalize his lies, how adroitly can he revise what he’s previously said, how deftly can he turn the page . . . shifting the audience’s attention to the next episode — maybe immigration, maybe Iran, maybe the debt ceiling . . .
Clinton’s personal corruption reduced the stature of the presidency and Dick Morris’s miniature populism — the president as champion of, yes, school uniforms for third-graders — reduced its gravity. The president trundled along from scandal to scandal, all unsavory but none consequential enough to threaten American security or prosperity. As he did, the media marveled not at how dissolute Clinton was but at how fabulous he was at lying about it. In previous times, gross fraud was a disqualifier for offices of public trust. Now, fraud and the dexterity to carry it off in the light of day — to look the press itself in the eye and lie with indignation — became admirable political attributes. The story was never the sordid facts of the scandal du jour; the scandal was merely a barometer for measuring Clinton’s survival skills.
Now, of course, we have another celebrity-in-chief whose left-wing orientation aligns with the media’s. Obama is a more ambitious and doctrinaire statist — one who didn’t come to Washington just “to do school uniforms,” as he admonished his staff — but one who lacks Clinton’s charm. As increasing numbers of Americans sense, the current president is more into inflicting your pain than into feeling it.
Though never desirable, presidential fraud might be tolerable if this were 1995 again. But it is not — our times are grave. Unlike the days of the Clinton bender, the question is not how the president is going to survive another fine mess he’s gotten himself into. The question is how we are going to survive this president.
Will you say "I don't create the law, I just enforce it"?
Can you be held personally responsible for your actions?
Will you be an obedient pawn of those in power?
Always, in every situation, you, and you alone, are responsible for what you do.
Some days nothing goes right. In fact, some years nothing goes right! What's worse, sometimes the very people you try hardest to please don't appreciate you! Take President Obama, for example. (Please!) During this past year his approval rating has gone down among all groups, but most of all among Hispanics and people with incomes under 24,000 per year. Here is the graph from Gallup, comparing his approval rating of December 2012 to now.
Thanks to Gerard Vanderleun for posting this graph.
Will having kids make you happy? Matt Walsh answers the question:
Funny, if kids are supposed to give me a happiness high, why are they sometimes such a buzz kill? Times, specifically, like when we’re on long car trips and they take turns screaming at a pitch so high it would make a dog’s eardrums explode. Or the times when they decide they’d like to get up and start the day early — at 2 AM. Or the times when I’d like to take my wife out for a date but we can’t find anyone to watch the kids. Or the times when they have their diarrhea set on a timer, ready to explode right as I’m taking off their diapers. If they are supposed to “make me happy,” what are they doing crying and crapping so much? Attention son and daughter: loud screams and messy diapers do not make Dad happy. Didn’t they get that memo? What’s wrong with them? They’ve clearly failed in their Divine Mandate to be the harbingers of my own personal happiness.
Or maybe no such mandate exists. Maybe no human being was put on this Earth to “make me happy,” least of all my children. The joy and happiness of parenting is like the joy and happiness that can be found in many good things: it comes from sacrifice, self denial, and self giving. It comes with work and effort. I have to be the sort of person who finds happiness in giving, and I will not automatically be that sort of person just because I had sex and made a couple of babies. In other words, my kids don’t make me happy to be a parent; I have to make me happy to be a parent. And I am. I am beyond words. But that happiness will decrease if I become more selfish, and it will increase if I become less selfish.
And then maybe we should stop worrying so much about this happiness thing, anyway. I think the happiest people are the ones who spend the least amount of time whining about their desire to be made happy. They do a thing because it’s right, or because they have a duty to do it, or because it is interesting, or beautiful, or enlightening.
Did you know the NFL has a rule not allowing ads for guns during the Super Bowl? Matt Walsh weighs in:
I wish it was as simple as saying that our culture loves sex and hates violence, but even that isn’t true. We seem to be obsessed with sex while hating only the particular brand of violence that can be morally justified. Abortion is violence, but you won’t hear these anti-gun idiots cry about that sort of brutality. Pornography is violence, but again the “anti-violence” gun grabbers stay silent. They rarely even chime in to condemn violence for entertainment. No, it would seem that they only oppose the “violence” of men and women protecting themselves and their loves ones from predators and tyrants.
Matt goes back to the first quarter of last year's Super Bowl and describes the action:
Game: violence, violence, violence, concussions, violence, concussions, violence.
Commercial break: sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, booze and sex, booze, booze, sex, booze, action movie preview (violence), sex, booze, sex.
Game: violence, violence, violence, violence, time out.
Commercial break: sex, booze, sex, booze, booze, sex, sex, sex, boozy sex, sexy booze, goat beating up guy for Doritos (weird violence), sex.
Game: violence, concussions, violence, time out.
Commercial break: sex, sex, sex, booze, sex.
Game: violence, end of quarter.
It’s become popular to laugh about the “tea bagging rednecks” who are “obsessed” with guns. But the tea bagging rednecks I know aren’t obsessed with guns at all; they own guns because it makes sense to own guns. It’s the anti-gun crusaders who have the unhealthy obsession. They are the danger. They are a danger to liberty, but also a danger to themselves and their loved ones. They proudly go through life defenseless, vulnerable, ready to be victims.
Ann Voskamp goes with a friend who is grieving. They go to a butterfly observatory. A morpho butterfly lands on Ann's shoulders, and does a rare thing. It opens its brown wings and shows the gorgeous blue underneath the brown. And it stays open. "So you never close again."
Go read the story here.
Jonathan Turley is a liberal who voted for Obama. He is also a constitutional scholar. He testified before Congress this week:
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): Professor Turley, the Constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It's about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president's unilateral modification of an act of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?
JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he's not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He's becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in a single branch.
This Newtonian orbit that the three branches exist in is a delicate one but it is designed to prevent this type of concentration. There are two trends going on which should be of equal concern to all members of Congress. One is that we have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations. The Supreme Court said recently that agencies could actually define their own or interpret their own jurisdiction. (House hearing, December 3, 2013)
Thanks to Instapundit for linking to Real Clear Politics.
Joshua Keating writes about an international deal between Britain and China:
Pigs are a big deal for the Chinese economy, with almost 446 million of them—one for every three people and more than the next 43 countries' combined. Fluctuations in global pork prices have drive the country’s exchange rate, and analysts have joked that CPI actually stands for "China Pork Index."
According to the FT, British pigs “grow faster, eat less food and, crucially, reproduce much more quickly than their Chinese counterparts,” so the hope is that superior sperm will help Chinese pork manufacturers keep up demand. This is the second major international Chinese pork deal of the year after Shuanghui International Holding's purchase of Smithfield Foods earlier this year, in the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company ever.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking to this article.
Did you know that a record 85% of recent college graduates are now living back home with their parents? So says the introduction in Psychology Today to an article by recent grad Cristina Schreil.
“We are a very entitled generation,” 23-year-old Lilia Sterling, who moved in with her parents after graduating from NYU, observed. Sterling confronted a fruitless job search.
“My parents said, maybe not explicitly, do whatever you love, do whatever makes you happy.” Months later, she finally realized, “‘It’s time to do whatever I can.’”
Brianna Flaherty, who graduated in May and lives in New York City before she’ll have “to give up and move home,” is unemployed. She spends hours on Craigslist and writing cover letters. When she interviewed at a bakery recently, there were 250 others competing with her to frost cupcakes at 5:00am.
“I no longer buy into the idea that having a degree will give you your dream job,” she told me. She’s exasperated. “I see on Craigslist that my Creative Writing degree, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, qualifies me to be a receptionist.”
Perhaps one difference between college grads in recessions of the past and grads today is our lack of patience.
“We’re used to getting what we want, right away,” says Alana Dowden, a grad from University of California, Santa Barbara. “If we want to download a song, we can hear it in seconds.” To Dowden, this could prove frustrating for job-hunting grads that need to adapt to the “real world,” adopting a completely different outlook than they did in school.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking to the Psychology Today article.
John Fund lives in New Jersey, which has casinos offering on-line gambling. He writes,
Fifty thousand people signed up online for New Jersey’s gambling sites in the first week. That compares with 741 who signed up for Obamacare during all of October.
At the heart of the health-care law is the following premise: Enough young and healthy people will sign up for new health insurance through the government’s excuse for a website to provide enough income for insurance companies so the planned subsidies to older and sicker uninsured people can keep flowing.
Obama’s most pressing problem is that young people aren’t buying into his sales pitch. A new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll of those under 30 years of age has devastating news for Obamacare.
Only 29 percent of uninsured young people say they will definitely (13 percent) or likely (16 percent) enroll in new plans via the exchanges. Despite an avalanche of public-service ads, thousands of “navigators” — glorified sales reps — recruited from Obama-friendly nonprofits, and numerous celebrity endorsements, the product isn’t moving.
Read the whole thing, as Instapundit would say.
Obama’s uncle is Onyango “Omar” Obama, 69, a Kenyan national who has been living illegally in this country for five decades. Omar, the manager of a liquor store, was caught driving under the influence recently and faced deportation. The judge apparently let him off. What’s interesting is that Omar testified during his trial that the future POTUS stayed at Onyango’s apartment in Cambridge in the 1980s while Barack attended Harvard Law. Obama has previously denied ever having even met Omar. But the Kenyan’s landlord corroborated under oath Barack Sr.’s brother’s testimony. The White House, as is its wont these days, isn’t commenting.
Around Obama there is an unprecedented silence, almost a media omertà.
From the free dictionary: omerta: A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking to Roger's piece.Update The managing editor of the Daily Caller reports that the White House today admitted that Obama did stay with his uncle in the 1970s. Roger Simon was right. The uncle and his landlord were telling the truth.
Here is a photo of his uncle in court.
I have a confession of ignorance to make. I know nothing about Sauron, Isildur, Narsil, Luke Skywalker, Aragorn, Gandalf, Boromir, Arthur, Elendil, and Anduril. I do know about Winston Churchill, whose bust was returned to the British by Obama in one of his first acts as president. I do know about Bill Whittle, who writes about all of the above in an essay this morning, linked to by Glenn Reynolds.
Bill is urging us to "fight them," to be king; not forever, just for today."
Guest post by Curt Dale
I am thinking that if every person who sports “I Support our Military” on their bumper stickers, shirts, and caps, were to truly get behind the GIs, we could have an enormous impact. You see, Obama and Chuckie Hagel, his ditzy Sec Def, are laying plans to cut the pay of our military members and to close the Military Commissaries where our military members, the wives and military retirees shop for their groceries.
I saw the announcement of this effort by Obama to further degrade our military and break faith with the military at almost the same time I learned of his scandalous plans to make open end payments, up front, to health insurance companies, betting on the come that the insurance companies will be honest with the government. See, the government doesn't know what it will cost to get private insurance companies to bail out his failed planned for a while. The insurance companies don't know what it'll cost either, so the Government will just estimate it, send Billions of dollars to the insurance companies to cover them, then let the insurance companies figure out what will be fair compensation and send back any excess. Isn't that a laugh? No, I didn't make that up. That is an Obama plan, put out yesterday, to try to keep Obamacare alive on the back of the taxpayers, AND I SHOULD ADD THE U. S. MILITARY. I couldn't not even conjure up such a stupid, devilish concept.
By cutting the pay of the military and closing commissaries, he can get a few more dollars to throw away on Obamacare and play to his Liberal base of non-working, non-contributing voters.
How can Obama conceive such a witless plan when honest, intelligent people cannot? Here's my thought! He is so dishonest, conniving and larcenous that he could care less whether the government gets a square deal from those insurance companies-- just so long as he can salvage or appear to salvage his precious OBAMACARE Legislation, his last gasp for any kind of legacy. Apparently he is the only one who doesn't know that it's already a major disaster from any direction it's evaluated. He will waste more on his Obamacare Rollout Repair and un-Constitutional adjustments that he assures us will make the rollout and Obamacare workable, than will be derived from the military pay cuts and commissary closure. But does he care? Of course not. He is the president who detests the military even more than Bill Clinton, and that's really saying something.
NOW ABOUT THOSE OF US WHO CHAMPION SUPPORTING THE MILITARY! It seems to me that every person who has an "I SUPPORT OUR MILITARY" BUMPERSTICKER on their car, or house or shirt, should be writing their Congressman, Senators, the Pentagon and drowning the White House Switchboard with protests at any pay cuts for the military, retirees and to stop making the military Obama's first target of frontal assault when he wants to appear to be saving money and becoming frugal. I am sick of hearing this empty claim from Obama, Congressmen, Senators and Chuck Hagel of how they support the military. I think I can count on my fingers the members of Congress who REALLY do.
So, this is an Open Letter to my Congressman Cory Gardner, to the Colorado Senators Udall and Bennet. Then I'll start sending it to as many others as possible.
Please join me in lighting a fire on this.
Colonel Curtis D. Dale, PhD, USAF (Ret) ©4 December 2012
There is a fascinating post here on the differences in the male and female brains. Here is a graphic from the article.
Steve Conner writes at The Independent,
Researchers found that many of the connections in a typical male brain run between the front and the back of the same side of the brain, whereas in women the connections are more likely to run from side to side between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
This difference in the way the nerve connections in the brain are “hardwired” occurs during adolescence when many of the secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hair in men and breasts in women develop under the influence of sex hormones, the study found.
“These maps show us a stark difference - and complementarity - in the architecture of the human brain that helps to provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks, and women at others,” said Ragini Verma, professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The only part of the brain where right-left connectivity was greater in men than in women was in the cerebellum, an evolutionary ancient part of the brain that is linked with motor control.
Men tend to outperform women involving spatial tasks and motor skills - such as map reading - while women tend to better in memory tests, such as remembering words and faces, and social cognition tests, which try to measure empathy and “emotional intelligence”.
A separate study published last month found that the genes expressed in the human brain did so differently in men and women. Post-mortem tests on the brain and spinal cord of 100 individuals showed significant genetic differences between the sexes, which could account for the observed gender differences in neurological disorders, such as autism, according to scientists from University College London.
For instance, one theory of autism, which is affects about five times as many boys as girls, is that it is a manifestation of the “extreme male brain”, which is denoted by a failure to be able to show empathy towards others.
Obamacare needs young Americans to sign up in order to subsidize health care for older Americans. Here is the music video the Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grand prize in a contest to persuade young American adults to enroll.
Same song, different visuals.
Thanks to Patrick Non-White at Popehat for posting the video there.
One more supermarket story. The 2014 calendars are out. Can we learn something about Americans by what kinds of calendars they buy? Here were some titles I noticed in just one display of calendars:
God Bless America
Psalms: Anthems of Praise
Keepers of the light
Garden of Grass
Country Music Hall of Fame
And that doesn't even include all the calendars featuring cute kittens and puppies! Yes, I did see one Maxim calendar featuring a nearly bare-chested person who did not look one bit happy.
I admit I live in the suburbs. Perhaps all the smutty calendars are reserved for the inner city bookstores. Or is it just the kind of people who buy calendars? Maybe calendar-buying people are more religious and patriotic than non-calendar buyers? Or people who buy calendars as gifts buy religious and patriotic calendars?
Today, while standing in line at the supermarket, I picked up a copy of Prevention Magazine. On the front cover, it had something about discovering joy. I turned to the article, and was glad I did, because it talked about what Ann Voskamp writes about daily: gratitude. Of course, Ann writes about gratitude from the perspective of a Christian. The article was written from the perspectives of research psychologists.
"Advanced gratitude" is the ability to identify and appreciate the bad events in your life because of what you've gained from them. The article mentions the need to establish a "gratitude baseline." Like Ann Voskamp, the researchers recommend keeping a journal of things you are grateful for. It doesn't have to be daily; maybe three times a week, so it doesn't become something you feel bad about forgetting.
The researchers write about the need to retrain our brains. Our brains are on the lookout for trouble to avoid. We want to retrain our brains to bask in warm feelings of gratitude. That means practicing gratitude with considerable emotional intensity, lasting a while.
Lastly, the researchers recommend we remember the hard stuff. Compare the blessings of today with the sad or difficult times of loss or trauma we have experienced. The contrast provides a fertile ground for gratitude to develop.
ABC News doing the job it is supposed to do! Brian Ross reports:
The American government is giving and awarding thousands of dollars in military contracts to anti-American terrorist groups that are killing United States soldiers, Marines and service members.
Thanks to Chris Byrne for posting this SNL video.
Ann Voskamp wants us to have an upside-down Christmas this year. To encounter Jesus in a fresh way. Advent: coming...waiting. We are the people living after Christ's resurrection: the hallelujah people, always anticipating the coming of Christ again.
Week one: the Hope candle. We reach out to that one tree; the tree on which He hung, and we hold onto Him. But who knew that the limbs of the tree, that love, were reaching for us!
He doesn't write answers for us in the stars; He writes answers for us in His scars. What ultimately comforts us is not knowing His plan, but knowing His presence. Look for His presence this week in small ways, in tender shoots.
Many pundits reached for the obvious appeasement analogies, but Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argued that Geneva is actually worse than Munich. In 1938, facing a German seizure of the Sudetenland, the French and British prime ministers were negotiating with Berlin from a position of profound military weakness: It’s easy to despise Chamberlain with the benefit of hindsight, less easy to give an honest answer as to what one would have done differently playing a weak hand across the table from Hitler 75 years ago. This time round, a superpower and its allies accounting for over 50 percent of the planet’s military spending was facing a militarily insignificant country with a ruined economy and no more than two to three months’ worth of hard currency — and they gave it everything it wanted.
Obama and Kerry have not only taken a U.S. bombing raid off the table, they’ve ensured that any such raid by Israel will now come at a much steeper price: It’s one thing to bomb a global pariah, quite another to bomb a semi-rehabilitated member of the international community in defiance of an agreement signed by the Big Five world powers. Indeed, a disinterested observer might easily conclude that the point of the plan seems to be to box in Israel rather than Iran.
A Canadian disabled woman purchased tickets for a flight to New York and a Caribbean cruise sponsored by the March of Dimes. But a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent with the Department of Homeland Security denied her entry into the United States, because he had access to her medical records, which showed that she had been hospitalized in 2012 for treatment of depression. She is paraplegic. How the hell did the United States have access to her medical records? Read the whole disgusting story here.
Thanks to Instapundit for providing the link to this awful story.
The president’s belief that little of what he does is ideologically driven suggests he is living with a pampered, unchallenged mind. He has been told he is so smart for so long that he sees only clarity in his actions and unchallengeable reason in his conclusions. The president’s belief in his own intellect makes him think that whatever he does is simply the only thing a thinking person would do. Nothing ideological about that. And as president, he is constantly flattered, and his confidence that his analysis and conclusions are superior to others is readily reinforced. Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett tells us that Obama has been “bored to death his whole life.” Perhaps she is onto something. I guess there is something ho-hum and tiresome about being right all the time.
After about five years as president, it is unlikely he will change his modus operandi. In fact, given all we have observed about Obama, it is safe to say that he cannot adapt and will never be able to produce win-win outcomes among competing interests and ideologies. For anything to get done, others must manage around him, rather than think he can become the conductor of our political symphony.
This widening distance hits us in an uncomfortable place. We are okay with there being a top and bottom of the ladder -- but it should be a ladder, with plenty of rungs to climb, and places to rest if you’re tired of climbing. Most of us don’t want to live in a country that has only two classes, top and bottom. Especially if the top is wildly flourishing, while the bottom is just sort of grinding along.
I am glad to see that Scott Ott has revved up his writing production at Scrappleface. Today he has the scoop on Al Gore's decision to become a vegan:
Former Vice President Al Gore’s decision to become a vegan because of the impact of meat production on global climate change has apparently worked, according to scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
“Recently, we have observed massive growth of Antarctic sea ice,” said an unnamed climate researcher, “and the decades-long warming trend has stalled, or perhaps reversed itself. Until now, we assumed these were part of ordinary solar or jetstream cycles, but the news that Al Gore has stopped eating meat fully accounts for these observational phenomena.”
Although his switch to a vegan diet has halted the global warming trend, Mr. Gore acknowledges that giving up meat has been difficult, “like an amputee experiences pain in a ghost limb.”
“The most important thing after quitting meat,” Gore said, “is to find something to do with your hands, which have become habitually accustomed to grasping cuts of beef, and other sorts of rich, tender, succulent animal flesh.”
The Oscar, Nobel and Grammy-winning author and film-maker said his personal suffering is “all worth it, now that I know that I’ve actually saved Mother Earth, and that this isn’t just an empty gesture by a guy whose mansions, limos and jet travel still ranks me in the top one percent of carbon footprints on earth.”
Gawker has an article that is just breathtaking.
A mom who thought she was properly parenting by sending her two young kids to school with a homemade, whole-food lunch was shocked to find a penalty note from school officials informing her that the lunch of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, oranges and milk she provided was "unbalanced" and therefore had to be supplemented with Ritz crackers.
She was also fined $10.
Thanks to Moonbattery for linking to the Gawker article.
Recently I have excerpted articles by Peggy Noonan and Fred Reed. Noonan writes in that (former?) bastion of capitalism, the Wall Street Journal, lamenting the fact that Black Friday now begins for many large retailers at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Fred Reed laments the impact of advertisers on families and individuals.
As I look back on the events of the last two days, I would like to write something counter to their criticisms. I work in one of those big box stores. What I saw last night and today were many, many people who were very happy with the bargains they were able to obtain. Our store was well organized, customers were very orderly, and people were able to find great bargains.
Personally, I am in agreement with Fred Reed that advertisers have way too much impact on our society. Like I imagine Fred would do, I can and do turn off talk radio during the ads, rarely watch t.v., and avoid print newspapers. The newspapers are biased, and they sensationalize. If there were disorderly crowds in five Walmarts nationwide, what about the other one thousand Walmarts? Not newsworthy.
Peggy Noonan laments the fading away of religious and patriotic aspects of Thanksgiving. I have news for you, Peggy. as soon as the meal is eaten and the dishes washed, people have been watching football or movies on t.v., or playing video games for the last several years. Now mom and dad can actually do something fun and adventurous together, and save money on Christmas presents. It's a win-win. Retailers and their employees are better able to meet their financial obligations after this day and one-half of sales. Customers had a fun night, and are proud and happy with the bargains they obtained.
Peggy felt it was unfair that employees had to come in to work on Thanksgiving. She doesn't mention the bonuses and increases in wages paid during the two day sale. I don't need the sympathy of Peggy Noonan or any other bleeding heart liberal. What I need, and what I have, is a job!
Why did so many retailers move the beginning of Black Friday back to 6 p.m. on Thursday? Because the old system, requiring customers to get up at 4 a.m. to come in for the best bargains, was not convenient for either customers or employees. Under the scenario we saw this weekend, people could finish their meals and come out for some fun and adventure at the 6 or 8 p.m. sales. Shoppers who had saved money and planned their purchases by reading ads came away delighted at what they had purchased.
Since Americans will eat 46 million turkeys today, shouldn't we want to know something about turkeys? Here is a list of their characteristics, written by Jesse Hirsch at Modern Farmer:
Using the combined wisdom of an Ohio turkey farmer named Bill Karcher, a poultry researcher named John Anderson and some 4H essays written for children, let us provide you with some armchair insight into today's dinner.
It’s well-documented: Domesticated turkeys always want to hang out. Even if they have lots of space to roam, they’ll stick tight; Anderson calls it “flocking up.” Remove a turkey from his friends, he’ll squawk and make a scene. They’re not real choosy — Anderson has seen turkeys latch onto dogs or sheep in a pinch. He even has a turkey at home that trails him like a trained pooch.
Fear of Death
In the poultry industry, stories make the rounds about turkeys suffering heart attacks when their brethren head to slaughter. True or not, Karcher says that when a turkey dies in front of his flock, everyone else gets spooked. They all mope for awhile, eating less and avoiding the death site. Luckily they get over it after a few days. “They’re either really resilient, or they’ve got bad short-term memory,” Karcher says.
Right around the age of adolescence, male turkeys start acting like punks. They seek attention in the most desperate ways, shoving each other around and generally being obnoxious. “It’s like teen humans,” says Karcher. “They don’t have the good judgment that comes with maturity.”Motherly Love
Turkey hens are like most mothers in nature — mess with their babies and they’ll totally freak. Karcher says it can be no easy task to collect eggs during laying season. Typically docile hens have no problem rearing up and attacking a human. He says the male turkeys (toms) will also get in on the action. “You take an egg, they’re going to flog the crap out of you with their wings,” he says.
A Need to Be Heard
Do not mock the comical-sounding gobble — it’s a basic form of self-expression. It’s also only one of the noises turkeys make in a fairly complex arsenal of turkey communication. Turkeys possess a vast range of gobbles, clucks and yelps, with meanings ranging from “I’ll take you on, big boy” (Acker’s words) to “I’m lost” or”I’m just waking up for the day.”
A Tidy Mind
You’ve surely heard this one before — in a rainstorm, turkeys will supposedly crane their necks up and drown. This myth has been roundly disproven, yet it endures. Some claim it is the necessary folklore we use to justify mass turkey slaughter (i.e., it’s okay to kill dumb things). Dr. Karl Nestor suggests that turkeys aren’t dumb, but they do like a good rainstorm. It’s like a natural shower — Nestor says they want the rain to wash them clean. He may just be speculating, but turkeys are always preening and tamping down their feathers, and a not-quite-OCD display of hygiene.
Gerard Vanderleun posts today's Bible verse:
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Doesn't she realize Thanksgiving is the beginning of Black Friday? Yes, she does.
At least shoppers have a choice. They can decide whether or not they want to leave and go somewhere else. But the workers who are going to have to haul in to work the floor don't have a choice. They've been scheduled. They've got jobs they want to keep.Thanks to Gerard Vanderleun for the link to Peggy's column.
It's not right. The idea that Thanksgiving doesn't demand special honor marks another erosion of tradition, of ceremony, of a national sense. And this country doesn't really need more erosion in those areas, does it?
The rationale for the opening is that this year there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and since big retailers make a lot of their profits during that time something must be done. I suppose something should. But blowing up Thanksgiving isn't it.
Black Friday—that creepy sales bacchanal in which the lost, the lonely, the stupid and the compulsive line up before midnight Friday to crash through the doors, trampling children and frightening clerks along the way—is bad enough, enough of a blight on the holiday.
But Thanksgiving itself? It is the day the Pilgrims invented to thank God to live in such a place as this, the day Abe Lincoln formally put aside as a national time of gratitude for the sheer fact of our continuance. It's more important than anyone's bottom line. That's a hopelessly corny thing to say, isn't it? Too bad. It's true.
Oh, I hope people don't go. I hope it's a big flop.
Stay home, America.
You thought tomorrow was Thanksgiving day? How did we get to this point? Let Fred Reed explain.
Who is going to buy all the junk? Used to be, “production” meant making stuff that people needed. You know: food, clothes, hovels, corn whiskey. There was more demand than supply. Then production in these things, agriculture for example, caught up and everybody had enough to eat. Consequently production went into things people didn´t so much need as want: refrigerators, telephones, Model Ts. Of course pretty soon they came to think that they needed the things they wanted, but never mind. Still, there was more demand than supply. For a while.
Then production again caught up with demand, chiefly through automation. Since people now had everything they needed or wanted, the economy needed to sell them things they didn´t want. There was now more supply than demand, so industry demanded more demand, and advertising stepped in to supply the demand for more demand, the demand for advertising supplying…(this sentence may be getting out of control, but you see what I mean).
The main product of the economy soon became advertising. Twenty minutes of every television hour hosannahed the virtues of indistinguishable shampoos and miraculous toilet paper. Ads turned radio insufferable. Billboards made the big roads hideous. Computers groaned under the weight of spam and pop-ups and buses carried ads on three sides. Buy, buy, buy.
ten specific practical suggestions, on how to advance the Kingdom of Christ in this world.
The first is, absolutely refuse to give obeisance to the various idols which the “politically correct” specially define, and then demand that we worship, such as “equality,” “fairness,” “human rights,” and the other specious abstractions to which they attribute a gnostic and mystical power. And symmetrically, refuse to worship in the temples of the gods of money and power and coolness.
Second, make conscious, reverent references to God — even to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — an audible part of our lives in the world, and love God in our hearts. Conversely, carefully avoid speaking of any divine thing in a cute or irreverent way.
Third, unfailingly attend the Mass, each Sunday, and daily where we can; and let the Mass do its work upon our souls. (Non-Catholics should likewise be punctilious in their own religious observances.) Let the enemy see our churches filled. Observe and participate in all other sacraments, which includes, for Catholic Christians, the crucial one of making a good Confession, frequently. In any event, prayerfully ask God’s forgiveness when we fail.
Fourth, defend our families, by keeping as aloof as possible from the bureaucracies of Nanny State. Do not neglect the needs of our parents in their time of sickness and old age; do not fail to instil in our children, by our own upright and sincere behaviour, the respect they owe to us as their parents.
Fifth, do not participate in any way in what a recent pope so eloquently described as “the culture of death.” Do everything in our power to streetproof ourselves and our children against its demands, and do not hesitate to spell out the basic facts of life, behind all life issues. Be sure our children understand them, and that they grasp the sanctity of all human life.
Sixth, reject sexual liberation in all its insidious forms. Do not even think about fornication and adultery. Truly respect and accommodate the opposite sex.
Seventh, be consistently honest and honourable in all business and social transactions, with everyone, regardless of race colour or creed, even when it must be at some cost to ourselves. Do not play with temptations to corruption. Yet, assiduously avoid being “holier than thou.”
Eighth, be truthful in speech, fair and even charitable in speaking of other people, and look constantly for whatever good we can find in them. Be encouraging rather than discouraging by habit, and most important, do not spread personal gossip and lies, even against our worst enemies, and even when we think they deserve it.
Ninth, be content with what we have in our family and religious life, make ourselves happy with the homes we have to return to, and do not look covetously upon the Joneses. Accept with humility our station in life; have ambitions, but make them unselfish.
Tenth, be content with our fate more generally, and trust in God to deliver His justice in the fullness of Eternity: “Thy will be done.” Take only what comes our way, including all knocks, and use what we have been given, including all talents and skills, generously to God’s glory. Indeed, give, according to our means, a little wildly. See and sympathize with need. And rejoice, always, in the life we are given, and in the knowledge that what we leave upon the face of time can only be our example.
David Warren, as it happens, is also thinking about Christians who deny Christ. He points out that 11 of the 12 disciples of Christ made themselves scarce during Christ's crucifixion. Only John and Christ's mother, Mary, remained at the foot of the cross. Yet, something happened to cause all of the rest of the apostles to die as martyrs in the name of Christ. The only one, in fact, to die of old age, was John!
What was the reason for their change of heart? The resurrection of Christ.
Warren made a journey to the Holy Land. He writes about it.
In Jerusalem, on the Dome of the Rock — sited very conspicuously right on top of what is almost certainly the Holy of Holies, within the ancient Temple precincts — is an inscription, in their earliest angular Kufic script, on what was also the earliest monument the Arabs caused to be erected in a conquered land, by impressed Byzantine labour. This inscription reads in its most significant part: “Praise to Allah who begets no son and has no associate in power and who has no surrogate for humiliations.” The point is sustained by repetition, together with the contrary assertion that Muhammad is God’s envoy and can alone provide intercession on the day when the Muslim community is resurrected; and the Muslim Jesus comes to throw all us stubborn Christians into Hell.
That is on the outside of the Dome. On the inside there is a further long inscription, which mentions Jesus and Mary by name; states that Jesus, too, was an envoy, and therefore no Son of God; declares that the religion of God is Islam, and that God will reckon with those who dissent. Nearly fourteen centuries have passed, since this direct challenge was laid down to the existence of Christianity; and indeed, we are living in the fallout of it today.
Yet we have today, at least in the more progressive and nominal Christians of North America and Europe, the curious notion that Christianity is compatible with Islam. That it is likewise compatible with all other religions. That it is compatible with a Darwinian cosmology, and therefore with atheist materialism. And that the Church becomes ever more “relevant,” the more we admit she is defunct. Defunct — and yet still outwardly turning over, and available at a discount, in the post-modern spiritual flea market. For she still has a certain decorative and nostalgic value.
The Church makes, for such people, a nice venue for a wedding; it may offer a bit of formal “closure” for a funeral. The building may be worth including on the architectural preservation list, since no one is ever going to build another like it. And that is all very nice, and it goes with sentimental thoughts on the teachings of that religion.
The whole thing may now apparently be reduced to a “bottom line.” It comes down to being nice to people, and trying not to notice if anyone is mean. It is about being open-minded, and accepting people as they are, unless of course they happen to be religious. Indeed, whatever else Christ may have done, according to this view, he reduced all the Ten Commandments to just One Commandment: that “you mustn’t judge people.”
It is true that moral relativism is a threat, that multiculturalism is a threat, along with feminism, homosexualism, environmentalism, repackaged socialism, and various other isms of the past and future. Each constitutes an attack upon, and implied alternative to, the Christian civilization that tickles under its exponents’ feet. But the reassuring thing about all of these quasi-religious belief systems, is that they are asinine. They can be used to attack, and to destroy; to express anger, and demand redress; but they cannot be used to build anything. They offer no credible inspiration; no excuse for being good or brave or honest; and finally, no truly convincing reason to get up in the morning.
To be shockingly brief, Islam suffered a major defeat some centuries ago, when it lost its superior military power. The religion has not been without real merits, and is still competitive against the atheist ideologies I have listed. Against an entirely de-Christianized West, it might well prevail, for it presents an account of the world, and a moral order, that is at least more plausible than anything the atheists have thought up. It has, for the moment, the demographic advantage of higher birthrates, and until recently fairly open immigration to a Europe which, for its part, has been intent on committing demographic suicide.
And it is quite reasonable to argue, that in the longer view of things, the very existence of anarchically violent forces within Islam, such as the death cults of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and revolutionary Iran, are a symptom of steep decline. When little is left to hold your religion together except the threat of death for apostasy, you are not, after all, in such a good position. There are diminishing returns as you hike up the threats; but if you withdraw them you may lose everything. Bad as things may seem for Christianity, when we look at the contemporary world from the least attractive angles, things look worse for the Muslims.
Our understanding of God is such, that we expect to find causation and order and sense, wherever we look in nature. And having looked for it, we have always found it.
Christ himself goes where he is wanted, and moves on from where he is unwanted.
The purpose of politics should be entirely negative — to provide remedies against specific evils that afflict all men. We may need police, we may need courts, we may need defences against potential invaders, we may need a few by-laws, especially in towns, and some readiness to cope with natural disasters. We need laws to prevent men from enslaving each other. We most certainly do not need laws to tyrannize and goad us towards some crackerjack plan for an earthly utopia.
The politics in Christian societies of the past were minimal. They will be minimal again if a Christian society is restored. The basic scheme is to keep the government out of people’s faces, and let them get on with their lives; while similarly preserving the independence of the Church, and the sanctuary she offers. These are the politics of “live and let live.” In the well-ordered commonwealth, the State is reduced to something almost decorative, and the ancient Catholic principle of subsidiarity — that problems are to be resolved by the smallest, lowest, and least centralized competent authority — becomes a way of life.
It is to an otherworldly Kingship we owe our deepest loyalty; not to a nation, nor to a race, nor to an ethnicity, let alone some jackboot punk, “dressed in a little authority.” The Church in her nature can represent no particular worldly interest. She serves no Caesar, and answers to no Parliament — only to Christ the King.
Through history the common people have often been vexed by tyrants; and in our time the ever-growing and ever-more-intrusive powers appropriated by the Nanny State have stripped us of many ancient freedoms. Each in turn is replaced with some novel, intrinsically dubious, and invariably non-Christian so-called “right” or special privilege: ranging from a mother’s right to kill her unborn child, to the pornographer’s right to corrupt public morals, to the fanatic’s right not to have his delicate feelings hurt. Indeed, all these new rights have required Orwellian inversions of language, to make an unambiguous evil smell like a plausible good. And, each is a “group right” — the essence of true fascism — designed to obviate hard-won individual rights, often going back beyond that very medieval Magna Carta.
Will our adversaries prevail?
I am fairly optimistic, however, that they lack both the opportunities and the skills to prevail in this. Ratcheting requires the virtue of patience, and confidence in uninterrupted power. It requires that you never push too far or too fast: for the most complacent frog will begin to react, if the temperature of his water rises too quickly. Our tormentors today are too impatient. Their tactics are unsound.
Under which circumstances, all that is required of us, is to stand our own ground, with greater patience, and greater courage, than our tormentors. A Catholic Christian civilization can be restored, over time, by the same methods that were used to create one in the first place — not by violence, and not by usurpation, but by consistently refusing to deny Christ. That is the trick the disciples used, at a time when Christians numbered only in the thousands. They recognized Christ as their King, and served like soldiers.
We must stop denying Christ in our lives; stop ignoring his Resurrection; stop recognizing any spiritual authority that is not Christ’s. Stop refusing to act at His command. Stop encumbering His way.
Remember when the first pope, Peter, denied that he was with Christ? Today Rush Limbaugh was reading an interpretation of recent remarks by Pope Francis, in which it is alleged that Francis was critical of "unfettered capitalism." That is not the same as denying Christ, but it is enough to get the attention of Rush Limbaugh, the world's greatest defender of capitalism. Later in the show Rush said that he was getting a lot of emails from listeners, saying that the Pope was being misquoted. Rush is going to look further into the matter and return to the subject at a later date.
Back to the issue of denying Christ. When you hear someone curse and say, "Jesus Christ," what do you do? Do you speak up and let the speaker know that you are with Christ? I cringe, but I don't usually confront the person.
What about when you hear someone say the word "nigger?" I heard someone do that recently. I find the term despicable. I was so shocked, but I didn't confront the person. The person was Jewish, and I had asked him what he thought of the deal with Iran. To my shock, he expressed hatred for Obama, and used the "n" word to refer to him. If Obama loses the Jews, he is losing his second most solid voting block, next to blacks.
Another friend of mine used the "n" word about a month ago. I did confront him and tell him my daughter is black, and that I was deeply offended by the term. He seemed shocked to be confronted. He is someone I had always thought of as having a good heart. He used the term as he was telling a joke. It is not a joke. It is shockingly stupid and insensitive.
State Senator Evie Hudak is the woman in green in this video at a state senate hearing in Colorado. A rape victim argues for concealed carry on college campuses. Hudak tells her "statistics are not on your side."
Hudak became the object of a recall effort. You may know that two other Democrat gun control advocates have already been recalled this fall in Colorado, because of their roles in pushing new gun control legislation.
Recall organizers had until next week to come up with 18,000 valid signatures on a petition to recall Hudak. By resigning today, she beat them to the punch. If she would have been recalled, Republicans would have gained the majority in the state senate. Now, because she resigned, a Democrat committee will name her successor. That successor will have to face election in November, 2014.
A recent Quinnipiac poll found that independent voters in Colorado oppose the new gun control laws 61% – 33%. Independent voters comprise one-third of Colorado voters. Democrats have one-third, and Republicans one-third. Nevertheless, Democrats control the legislature and the governor's office.
Have you heard of the term "butt dialing?" I hadn't. Drudge has a story about a man who was butt dialed and heard his employer hiring a hitman to kill him!
Wikipedia describes butt dialing:
refers to the accidental placement of a phone call while a person's mobile phone or cordless phone is in the owner's pocket or handbag. The recipient of the call typically hears random background noise when they answer the phone. If the caller remains unaware, the recipient will sometimes overhear whatever is happening in the caller's vicinity. A pocket-dialed call can continue for many minutes, or until the recipient's voice mail system ends the call.
Typically, the call is caused by objects in a person's pocket or bag poking buttons on the phone. Because of typical sequences of button presses, the accidentally dialed number is often one that has been recently called from that phone, or one near the beginning or end of the phone's contact list.
Police have arrested the man who was trying to hire a hit man. The person who was arrested is a used car dealer in Arkansas.
Remember when a stripper hired to perform at a party of Duke University Lacrosse players in 2006 claimed that she was raped at the party? Sure you do. There were 160 television news stories. All charges were eventually dropped against the athletes.
On the other hand, in 2013, when that same stripper was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, there were only three televison news stories. That is a difference of 5,233%.
Michael W. Chapman reported these figures for CNS News.
What are people watching on t.v.? Noel Sheppard reports at Newsbusters that far fewer people are watching cable t.v. news broadcasts.
Data released Tuesday show CNN shedding 48 percent of total viewers since last November and MSNBC dropping 45 percent. Fox News is down 18 percent.
So, what are people watching? Football? Yes, certainly here in Colorado, where Peyton Manning toils away in orange and blue, trying to avoid tacklers aiming for his ankles.
What are the programs you watch each week?
Victor Davis Hanson writes his most brilliant column yet for National Review. I have only excerpted bits of it:
At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.
The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration.
Did administration explanations about Benghazi and the IRS scandals help reassure the American people that what the president said about Obamacare was likely to be true? Does serial disingenuousness finally ensure remorse and a return to veracity?
Do we operate on the T-ball philosophy that effort and happy talk can substitute for achievement? Does continuously blaming a prior president drive home the message of his culpability, or appear tasteless and reveal a sense of inferiority?
Do the unemployed more eagerly seek employment when they are provided increases in food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and assorted housing, legal, and education subsidies, or are they more likely to remain on public assistance, to become more indifferent to full-time employment, and to augment their subsidies with off-the-books cash income?
If Americans receive essentially zero interest on their passbook accounts, are they more or less likely to save? If they do save, are they more or less likely to rush into the stock market seeking any return over 1 percent? And will that desperation make stock offerings more or less accountable? Are zero-interest-earning savers in their 60s more or less likely to stay on their jobs? If the former, will that more or less retard employment of younger others?
Does ignoring provisions in the law — such as the individual mandate or legal requirements for insurance plans in Obamacare, or details of immigration law — persuade Americans in their own lives to follow the letter of the law?
If someone makes profits in business or a profession, can he expect to be praised for his success or targeted as making too much more money than others? And what effect on the general economy does such an attitude portend? Would it be better to succeed without government or to fail in partnership with it? Do we more greatly admire a private fracking company, or Solyndra?
Does announcing serial amnesties and praising the DREAM Act during an election campaign encourage a larger or smaller number of foreign nationals to risk entering the U.S. illegally? And would they do so with more or less conviction that their immigration problems were largely political rather than legal? Is amnesty seen as proof of a nation’s tolerance and thus a reason not to abuse immigration law, or proof of its moral confusion and paralysis, which encourages still more illegal immigration?
Does the employment of therapeutic euphemisms — workplace violence, overseas contingency operations, man-caused disasters — reassure Islamists that the United States is now their friend, and recognizably so by our extreme sensitivity in our choice of language? Or does our new vocabulary suggest to enemies that a country that won’t identify them by name will not punish them?
Did consideration of watering down U.S.-induced sanctions against Iran in order to initiate discussions with Teheran reassure allies that they had been right to follow the United States’ lead and ratchet up the embargo on Iranian oil and commerce? Did it encourage the Iranian government to negotiate in good faith? Will Iran now cease its nuclear program, given that the United States is dropping sanctions, providing incentives, and showing its eagerness for a settlement? Will Israel and Saudi Arabia sigh in relief that Iran is now postponing its program in exchange for the end of sanctions — thereby cooling down tensions in the Middle East?
There is a difference between the way we wish the world would work and the way it unfortunately does. We should know that tragedy from our own often-selfish lives in which we make decisions based on our perceptions of advantage. The problem with ignoring the role of unchanging human nature is that usually someone other than the utopian gets killed, runs out of money, or must live with the chaos brought about by the actions of the better-off, who are permitted by their money, leisure, power, and influence to dream that we are something that we are not.
Rich Lowry writes pretty much the same thing about the Obama presidency as Jonah Goldberg, but uses different words.
The salesmanship for Obamacare represents in microcosm the larger Obama political project, which has always depended on throwing a reassuring skein of moderation on top of left-wing ideological aims.
Both Lowry and Goldberg refer to the book Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The book details how Obama hid his true ideological agenda as he campaigned for reelection in 2012.
Halperin and Heilemann write, “He believed that over the past three years his progressive impulses had too often been trumped by the demands of pragmatism. That he had trimmed his sails in just the way his critics on the left had charged.”
The president means to suggest that his policies are simply the only right and smart way to achieve good things. That’s why he’s so fond of saying — and so hypocritical for saying it — that his opponents are ideologues who can’t “put politics aside” to do what’s right.
Just in time for I don't know what, Manhatten Infidel has posted the Socialist, Redistributionist Obamacare version of your Horoscope! Go here to see what is in store for you.
While at that famous website, be sure to sign up for the Turkey Liberation Army.
Manhatten Infidel misses very few things. It is even clinically proven to regrow hair!
Ann Voskamp knows the secret to happiness. It is to thank God always, every day, for everything that happens to you. She and her farmer husband practice that philosophy every day of the year. That is why I check her blog every day for wisdom and inspiration.
Does it mean that we cannot be angry about what is happening to our country? No! It means that we can be thankful to God that our eyes have been opened, that we have been given the tools and wisdom to fight the good fight and be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. We know which direction to go. We know Whom to ask for guidance, and Whom to praise.
Guest post by Suzann Darnall
At this time of year my thoughts naturally turn to thoughts of gratitude, religion, and patriotism. I guess it is because one thing I am most grateful for is that America was founded upon the idea of religious freedom. I cherish this. In part because I am a Mormon . . . and let's face it, we haven't always been the most tolerated of church-going communities in the world. But, now Christianity has become a target for intolerance throughout the world. Even within the borders of our own country!
I am also thankful for freedom of speech, although I sometimes fear that is slowly being leeched away with government and societal intrusion into our lives with ever-increasing political correctness.
I am grateful for the right to bear arms. I look at history and realize that an armed citizen is a free citizen. Those nations which have taken away the right to bear arms are those countries which eventually have people without rights. Gun control is nothing more than a way to enslave a population bit by bit.
I am grateful for freedom of the press. It allows me to learn what is happening throughout my country and the world. It allows me to have WoolyMammoth.Org and express my opinions in a way that can spread across multiple states and even the world, if people choose to access the website. But, I fear, that like so many rights, it too is being eroded. Censorship is becoming more prevalent. The liberal press has become chained to the Left as is a dog on a leash, seemingly doing what its Progressive masters want, without any real thoughts of telling either the truth or both sides of the story.
So, while I am extremely grateful for much about our country, I am also extremely concerned for those same blessings. The blessing of liberty comes with an obligation. An obligation to be vigilant. Ever vigilant. Lest our liberty be stolen away by the despotism of greed. Greed for political power. The kind of power that does not allow anyone to live outside the box of what is deemed best for the greater good. The sort of greater good that has been tried over and over in places like France during their bloody revolution, Russia under the Communists, Germany under the Nazis, Iran under the Mullahs, and far too many other places and dictatorships to list.
I am afraid my gratitude has become increasing tinged with an attitude of skepticism and concern. Concern for what the future holds for me, my family, my neighbors, and my country. Concern that far too many of the things I am grateful for will disappear into the giant abyss where the Liberals are throwing all those freedoms of which they do not approve. Let us make preparations not just for tomorrow's feast and celebration, but for the coming fight to save our rights. Rights important enough for the Pilgrims and pioneers to leave their homes, travel across the seas and the land, and eventually establish communities and a country all across what became a great nation. A nation we must not allow to fade into the obscurity of the failure of socialism.
So, on this most American of holidays, please let us give thanks for what we have, while making a promise to both defend and regain those rights which have allowed us to prosper. As we celebrate this November, let us prepare for all the Novembers to come, when we must vote to oust those who would oppress us and deny us the liberties that some of our forefathers came to America to achieve. As November 2013 winds down, we are facing many trials that will be forced upon us by those who misuse their power, ignore our laws, and deride our traditions. Let us be strong, band together, and find strength in the Lord. God bless America and may all y'all have a happy Thanksgiving!
Â© Suzann C. Darnall, NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATED © Suzann C. Darnall, NOVEMBER 2013
Sippican Cottage writes,
I was raised a Catholic, though that upbringing has done me precious little good for a long time. But I recall that I was taught, as the Bible says in Luke, to "pray for those that abuse you." So, here goes: This is me, saying a prayer for that rat-faced, greedy, grasping, porcine, boorish, gibbering, moronic stuttering clusterfark of a troglodyte pedlar we have for a Governor.
It's times like these that make me wish I had been raised by Evangelical Christians, instead of Catholics, so I could proceed directly to the "laying on of the hands."
Go here to see what the Maine governor did to piss off Mr. Sippican.
So why did Obama give away everything when he didn’t have to give away anything? This is not appeasement; this is collaboration. As Obama made clear from the beginning of his administration, he wants to side with the mullahs and he doesn’t like Israel. Obama has now given free rein to the Obama doctrine: the elevation of Islamic totalitarian dictatorships to the detriment of anything that stands in their way. This manifestly awful agreement isn’t a desperate mistake, it’s an intended outcome.
I took the advice of Bookworm Room and read Thomas Sowell's "random thoughts on the passing scene." These were my favorites:
One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s -- by Adolf Hitler! He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time -- until they can create a nuclear bomb.
President Obama really has a way with words, such as calling the problems that millions of people have had trying to sign up for ObamaCare "glitches." When the Titanic sank, was that a "glitch"?
No one seems as certain that they know what the Republicans need to do to win presidential elections as those Republicans who have lost presidential elections, such as Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole. Moreover, people take them seriously, and seem not to notice that what the losers advocate is the opposite of what won Ronald Reagan two landslide election victories.
Those who want to "spread the wealth" almost invariably seek to concentrate the power. It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence. Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?
Writing about the Habsburg Empire, distinguished British historian Paul Johnson said, "Every reform created more problems than it solved." That was not peculiar to the Habsburg Empire. The same could be said of modern welfare states, and especially our own ObamaCare.
Because many of us make mistakes that can have bad consequences, some intellectuals believe that it is the role of government to intervene and make some of our decisions for us. From what galaxy government is going to hire creatures who do not make mistakes is a question they leave unanswered.
One of the reasons it has taken so long for some people to finally see through Barack Obama is that people do not like to admit, even to themselves, that they have been played for fools by a slick-talking politician.
Go here to read more of his random thoughts and see which ones you like best.
Seen any walnuts in your medicine cabinet lately? According to the Food and Drug Administration, that is precisely where you should find them. Because Diamond Foods made truthful claims about the health benefits of consuming walnuts that the FDA didn’t approve, it sent the company a letter declaring, “Your walnut products are drugs” — and “new drugs” at that — and, therefore, “they may not legally be marketed … in the United States without an approved new drug application.” The agency even threatened Diamond with “seizure” if it failed to comply.
Diamond’s transgression was to make “financial investments to educate the public and supply them with walnuts,” as William Faloon of Life Extension magazine put it. On its website and packaging, the company stated that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts have been shown to have certain health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. These claims, Faloon notes, are well supported by scientific research: “Life Extension has published 57 articles that describe the health benefits of walnuts”; and “The US National Library of Medicine database contains no fewer than 35 peer-reviewed published papers supporting a claim that ingesting walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk.”
“The FDA’s language,” Faloon writes, “resembles that of an out-of-control police state where tyranny [reigns] over rationality.” He adds:
"This kind of bureaucratic tyranny sends a strong signal to the food industry not to innovate in a way that informs the public about foods that protect against disease. While consumers increasingly reach for healthier dietary choices, the federal government wants to deny food companies the ability to convey findings from scientific studies about their products."Walnuts aren’t the only food whose health benefits the FDA has tried to suppress. Producers of pomegranate juice and green tea, among others, have felt the bureaucrats’ wrath whenever they have suggested that their products are good for people.
A crowd of more than 100 people pelted Border Patrol agents with rocks and bottles as they tried to cross into the U.S. illegally, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The incident happened Sunday in the Tijuana River channel, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
According to CBP, a Border Patrol agent ordered the Mexican nationals to stop, but they continued walking into the U.S.
Officials said the agent fired a PepperBall Launcher, but it did not deter the crowd.
“They had their phones out so this group was out to spark an incident. That's what they wanted to do, “ Border Patrol Union representative Gabriel Pacheco said.
Had cooler heads not prevailed it could have ended much worse, he said.
Even with reinforcements, agents were outnumbered, dodging threats, rocks and bottles.
More agents responded as the crowd became “unruly,” even hitting one agent in the head with a full water bottle, officials said.
According to CBP, the agents used “intermediate use-of-force” devices, and the group retreated back to the Mexican side of the border.
No one was arrested.
Almost 80 million people with employer health plans could find their coverage canceled because they are not compliant with ObamaCare, several experts predicted.
Their losses would be in addition to the millions who found their individual coverage cancelled for the same reason.
Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute said that in addition to the individual cancellations, "at least half the people on employer plans would by 2014 start losing plans as well." There are approximately 157 million employer health care policy holders.
Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute added, "the administration estimated that approximately 78 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance would lose their existing coverage due to the Affordable Care Act."
Last week, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, showed the administration anticipates half to two-thirds of small businesses would have policies canceled or be compelled to send workers onto the ObamaCare exchanges. They predicted up to 100 million small and large business policies could be canceled next year.
According to projections the administration itself issued back in July 2010, it was clear officials knew the impact of ObamaCare three years ago.
In fact, according to the Federal Register, its mid-range estimate was that by the end of 2014, 76 percent of small group plans would be cancelled, along with 55 percent of large employer plans.
Adam Kredo writes in the Washington Free Beacon that
Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva.
Iran and Western nations including the United States came to an agreement on the framework for an interim deal late Saturday night in Geneva. The deal has yet to be implemented.
The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced.
However, Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Executive Director David Brog said he fears that the White House may have been “played by the Iranians.”
“This may prove to be yet another worrisome sign that the Obama Administration was played by the Iranians,” Brog told the Free Beacon in a statement. “Their concessions were either illusory or meaningless, while ours will resuscitate the Iranian economy.”
The White House said in its fact sheet on the deal that it could release up to $7 billion dollars to Iran during the first phase of the agreement.
The United States additionally agreed to suspend “certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector, and Iran’s petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue,” according to the now disputed fact sheet.
Iran could earn another $4.2 billion in oil revenue under the deal.
Another “$400 million in governmental tuition assistance” could also be “transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students,” according to the White House.